Fashion | Gel Liner vs Liquid Liner. Which is better + recommendations and tips


There has long been a debate in the beauty world over gel eyeliner vs liquid eyeliner. Some prefer the build-ability of the Gel liner while others love the sharp line that the Liquid liner makes. Instead of giving you our divided opinion (or a rant about how you use both for different), beauty experts explain to us what they use each one for!

Angelique Hogan, NSW Education Executive, Clinique Australia

What is the difference between gel and liquid eye liners?

The differences would differ from one brand to the next. Clinique’s Brush On Cream liner is a gel liner that is long wearing, and non- smudging for precise application with a specific brush. It is layerable, buildable and can be used for defined or Smokey eyeliner looks.

Clinique’s Eye Defining liquid liner is classified as a liquid liner (also long-wearing) and contains a fine sponge tip applicator in the wand of the product – making it quicker and easier to use. Liquid liners are not as buildable as gel liners so you need to get liquid liners right the first time! Often when you try to layer liquid liners you can end up taking the product off.

Do you prefer liquid or gel eyeliner?

I use both. For clients that want something quick and easy I recommend the liquid liner – for no mess, no fuss applications. When I want precision; intensity; versatility; or I want to create a serious line and build up the shape of the liner I go for a gel liner like Brush On Cream Liner. For a defined or traditional 50s 60s flick either product can be used. Alternatively, if you want a Smokey smudged liner with staying power use the gel Brush on Cream Liner.


Nicole Thompson, MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist:

Do you prefer liquid or gel eyeliner?

I like both for very different reasons!

A gel eye liner is easy to use, gives you a little more play time and blendability, so it is great for people who are newer to applying liner. It can also be used to create different effects; from a Smoky eye to a crisp, clean liner.

A liquid eye liner looks like just that – liquid. I love using a liquid when I want to create the most perfect, clean defined liner – along the lash line, and also with a flick. Black liquid liner would be my preference as it’s intense and achieves a classic look eye. My favourite trick is to use liquid liner to paint over the roots of false eyelashes to hide/help disguise them!

What are your favourite looks to create with gel and/or liquid eyeliner?

I love to create a dirty, lived-in sexy smoky eye (as seen at the Iceberg Spring/Summer 2012 show) with gel eye liner (try MAC Blacktrack Fluidline RRP: $32.00 AUD). I use a soft fluffy brush to smudge into the lashline and out to the crease, keeping the edges soft. The trick to this one is to dab a small amount of Gloss, MAC Gloss Texture into the centre of the lids to help it move around and give some shine!

At Jonathan Saunders Spring/Summer 2012 show, black flick eyeliners defined and elongated the eyes, set against super dewy skin and stayed perfectly crisp. It was created with Boot Black Liquid Liner


Tips for applying perfect eyeliner

  • Apply a freshly sharpened kohl pencil line very thinly across the eyelid first as a stencil, I am very comfortable using these and it’s a great guide for beginners. Once you have your stencil apply the Gel/Liquid eyeliner over the top for a really crisp line.
  • For a thinner line, apply only the brush tip horizontally, letting your hand naturally move as you apply.
  • For a thicker line, use the side, or the angle part of the brush and apply allowing your hand to naturally curve (slightly diagonally) towards your face.
  • When you get a little more confident in your eye liner application, try mixing the two brush angles together for a natural thin to thick application – this gives the outer lashes more thickness.

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